Title -- Under A Blood Moon (Prologue/?)

authour -- Devylish

disclaimer -- JW, Mutant Enemy, et al. own BTVS. I don't even own the computer I'm using. Oh, and the Blood Moon ceremony is a variation of the *The Full Blood Moon Esbat Ritual* from The Janic Tradition site (www.janictradition.org)

feedback -- does anyone ever actually say "no" to this? You can send comments to devylish@hotmail.com

rating -- PG now, R? later

AN -- The plot of this tale is based on the guidelines suggested by the Smashed Challenge issued on the Obsidian Moonlight site. This particular scene is a prologue to the challenge topic, takes place sometime between THE BODY and SMASHED, and involves Joyce and a Mary Sue. Also, for the story's sake, the Blood Moon occurs in November (as did SMASHED) versus happening in October. (Hey! Time doesn't work in fics the way it does in the rest of the world!) (See: http://www.obsidianmoonlight.com/writing/challenges.html for the detailed challenge rules). FYI: The Prologue is largely focused on the Mary Sue, but it struck me as an unavoidable evil.

Under A Blood Moon

Oct., 25 2001

Tahree, a witch of three hundred years standing, looked at the spirit before her. Nodding her head in answer to the question the spirit had asked her, she spoke: "Yes, I will do my best to help her."

A smile of joy flitted over the feminine spirit's face, she whispered her thanks and then melted back into the dark crystal sphere that sat on Tahree's floor.

Gathering her wizened bones, Tahree rose from her spot on the ground and creaked her way over to a nearby bookshelf. Muttering to herself about 250 years of aching bones, she ran her fingers over the cracked bindings of several books before finally coming to a stop over the one she wanted.

As she slid the heavy tome from its slot, she ruminated about the ghost and the information she had received from her. The spirit - called Joyce - had been appearing in Tahree's sphere every day for the past three weeks; growing more vivid and solid with every passing day. A week ago, Joyce had finally become potent enough to begin speaking with Tahree. And once she finally began to speak, the spirit had started to tell the witch a story. The story of a champion.

She spoke of a champion who had strength, power, and goodness. And her eyes had bled tears of sadness when she told the witch of The Champion's probable fate.... The Champion would die young, without a second half, without children, without the hope of the elements that made life -- life.

Joyce knew and acknowledged that it was a champion's role to *be without*, but the spirit was adamant that this champion was different.

Tahree had listened intently to Joyce's description of the champion; listened until her heart wept. A protector of the innocent, without the hope of hope. One who fought bravely, selflessly, and yet, one who dared to have comrades, and laughter, and her quiet dreams.

Joyce's description and tale of her champion, had made Tahree wonder if the champion -- this champion -- could be The One. The one the books whispered of.

Intrigued, Tahree had studied her cards, and gazed into her crystal sphere, and watched The Champion. It hadn't taken her long to realize that Joyce was right, there was indeed something special about this young champion. And if, as Tahree had grown to believe, she was The One, there was only one more piece needed for destiny to begin.

So she had continued to watch The Champion and her friends -- an odd assortment of souls -- until one day she found what she was searching for -- a Knight. A match for the champion. A chance at happiness. And perhaps... the beginning of something more.

Tahree sighed, and opening the front cover of the book, held her hands over it, and intoned the words: AVER OUVIRUR REPAAS ERI, SLARIRE -- YOEP PARC. As page after page of the book fluttered open, Tahree weighed the possibilities and limitations of her plan.

The way would not be easy. She smiled ruefully, the way for this Champion and Knight would never be easy. Her chief problem laid in the fact that the Knight and Champion were natural born enemies. Yes, she chuckled, that was a definite problem. It was a problem that would require strong magic and very specific timing -- but it was not an insurmountable problem.

As the pages of the book slowed their frantic turning, settling on a wrinkled, ancient divination, Tahree let another smile crease her face. Her spell would not, perhaps, be as difficult as it could have been. Despite a somewhat natural aversion to one another, this Champion and Knight seemed to be almost fond of one another. Feelings, acknowledged and unacknowledged, existed between them; and it would be these feelings that would be the genesis of her enchantment. The beginning of it all.

Running her fingers over the text before her, Tahree nodded her head in concentration. She had only to collect a few items and then she would be able to put the pieces in motion.

Individually, The Knight and The Champion were each of them impressive: intelligent, powerful, and passionate. But together... the two of them... the possibilities were boundless.

November 20, 2001, Night of the Blood Moon

'There, it is almost time." Tahree closed her eyes tiredly. Tonight, she was feeling every bit of her three hundred years, but she realized that after this evenings' work, her part in this drama would probably be complete. So, girding her energy about her, she opened her eyes and reached for the items on the short altar before her. Taking three strands of honey blonde hair, the witch began to twist them around three, shorter, bleached blonde strands of hair. She held together the ends of this small mass of silk, and picked up three six-inch white, red, and black cotton threads. Lashing the cotton threads together, she then tied the ends of the threads with the ends of the hair.

As she secured, tied and bound the hair and cotton together Tahree softly spoke:

Make all

that is -- nothing.

Undo the dam

that holds.

Impale the empty --

Empty with empty.

Begin the new.

Give this Champion,

this Knight.

Give to this Knight,

this purpose.

Give to them both,

this naissance.

Make what is void -- complete.

Dropping the united strands into a crucible, Tahree slowly waved her hand over the bowl three times.

Cre ato

Sed, Sil, Lef

Nurtu-ee

She struck a match and lit the dark red candle that sat in the middle of the altar.

As the yellow light illuminated the room Tahree reached into the soft sack that sat on the floor beside her and pulled an earth crystal -- a bloodstone -- out. The green and red colours of the stone danced in the candlelight, dueling -- or were they making love? -- with one another.

Cradling the stone in her lap, Tahree began to chant to the rhythm of music that only she heard. Calling upon The Blood Moon's power she crooned:

O Mother Moon, you represent life's energy.

I celebrate the life force that streams through our veins.

I celebrate the life force that creates children and all beings as we move through life.

Wordless keening left her lips, keeping in tempo with her supplication to The Blood Moon. Seconds crept by and grew into minutes; then suddenly, she could feel a change in the air around her. A breeze pushed against the candle causing it to waver.

Placing the bloodstone in both of her hands, she lifted it above the candle's flame.

May this bloodstone be charged with your energy,

the energy of the spirit,

the energy of The Champion and The Knight.

May this stone be a font and a symbol of those energies.

The energies of love, creation, and growth.

She rested the stone on the bottom edge of the altar and reached into the bowl that contained the circle of hair and cotton.

Continuing her mantra, she wrapped the twine of hair around the stone three times before picking it up again in both hands. She then proceeded to return the bound stone to its place above the candle:

Mother Moon, you change everything you touch,

and everything you touch changes.

As this candle burns, consumes and breathes,

may the wheels of life turn and be touched by your power.

May my wish be granted...

This or something better, for the highest good of all concerned.

As she watched the candle's heat tickle, lick, and eventually devour the twined hair, she slowly turned the stone over, allowing the remainder of its bindings to drop into the flame. Only when the flame had removed all evidence of the binding did she lower her arms.

Cupping the warm stone in her hands she reverently placed it into the silken sack at her side. As she gently tightened the drawstrings of the purse she again felt the breezy energy of The Blood Moon flow past her. Never loosening her hold on the bloodstone pouch, Tahree leaned over the altar, closed her eyes, and blew out the candle.

TBC